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Released: September 08, 2006

“Prepare to Prevent” For Farm Safety and Health Week

MANHATTAN, Kan. - National Farm Safety and Health Week is an annual promotion sponsored by the National Safety Council to recognize the hard work, diligence, and sacrifices of our nation’s farmers and ranchers. The 2006 event, Sept. 17-23, marks the 63rd consecutive signing of a proclamation by a U.S. President, beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944.

“The theme, ‘Prepare to Prevent’, focuses on raising awareness of the importance of proactive prevention practices for optimal agricultural safety and health,” said John Slocombe, Kansas State University Research and Extension farm safety specialist. “Prevention is the best way to eliminate farm accidents.”

Prepare To Prevent
ATV Injuries

MANHATTAN, Kan. - All-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs, are popular across Kansas and the nation. Their popularity is especially strong on farms and ranches where they are used more and more for daily work chores, said K-State Research and Extension farm safety specialist John Slocombe. With this rapid expansion of popularity, however, has come a significant increase in serious, disabling injuries among ATV users and riders.

Much of this increase can be attributed to children and youth operating ATVs designed for adults, and the failure of ATV riders to wear personal protective gear. Many serious or even fatal injuries to ATV operators and riders could be prevented if certain rules were followed:

* Never allow younger children and youth to operate ATVs designed for adult-use only. The industry recommended “rule of thumb” is that no one under the age of 6 should operate any ATV, no matter what its specified ATV engine size. And, no one under age 16 should operate an adult-sized ATV. Age levels and engine size recommendations for ATV use are: Ages six and older engine size under 70cc; ages 12 and older engine size 70-90cc; age 16 and older engine size over 90cc.

* Keep in mind that the industry’s rider age and engine size recommendations are to be used as broad guidelines only. The real test of the appropriate age of an operator and size of machine is the youngster’s strength, skills and judgment. Parents must take a significant supervisory role in making the final determination.

* One seat means one rider; just as on a tractor. ATVs are rider active, meaning the operator needs the full use of the seat to safely maneuver the machine. Extra riders make up a significant portion of victims in ATV injury incidents.

* All ATV operators should always wear an approved safety helmet and protective eyewear. In addition, operation of ATVs in rugged use areas or during competitive events may require the use of durable gloves and protective clothing to cover the arms, legs and feet.

Information on the location and availability of ATV safety training programs is available by calling the ATV Safety Institute at (800) 887-2887, or by contacting an ATV dealer.

Slocombe offered the following safety tips to help everyone “Prepare to Prevent.”

• Frequently inspect the farm – buildings, yards, equipment – to identify dangerous areas and make changes where needed.

• Store all chemicals in secure storage cabinets that are child- and theft-proofed.

• Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in all vehicles including farm implements and in all out buildings. Check contents at least once a year and restock as necessary.

• Have fire extinguishers readily accessible and of the appropriate size and type. Make sure all farm family members, employees, and visitors know the location of fire extinguishers and how to use them.

• Remove the keys from farm vehicles when they are not in use.

• Enforce an absolute “no riders” policy for all farm equipment.

• Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including eye protection, respirators, hearing protection, gloves, sturdy footwear, and sun protection (sunscreen, long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats).

• Wear your safety belt in vehicles. On the tractor use the safety belt when the tractor is equipped with a Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS).

• Take the whole family to an all-terrain vehicle safety training course. Always wear an approved safety helmet, eye protection, gloves, and protective clothing to cover arms, legs, and feet when operating the ATV.

• Practice safety and set a good example for employees, children, and the neighbors.

Farming is a dangerous, yet rewarding, occupation, Slocombe said. Preparing to prevent accidents is one way to help get rid of some of the dangers.

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Kerri Ebert
kebert@ksu.edu
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
John Slocombe is at 785-532-2906, slocombe@ksu.edu
Kerri Ebert is at 785-532-2976, kebert@ksu.edu